Merc Smartcraft, SC1000, Vessel View, NEMA 2000. Which one for the basics?

TikiHut2TikiHut2 Sarasota, FlPosts: 1,289Member ✭✭✭✭
edited October 2013 in Electrical Discussions
I occasionally get fed up with my Faria dash gauges(constantly) and threaten to upgrade to a Mercruiser Smart Craft(SC) gauge system but keep getting the Merc marketing names and options confused with each other when I hit Ebay to shop for a deal. My boat specs are below (Merc '04 5.7 MPI) and I have a great fuel flow sender already tied to my Garmin 441s chart plotter via a new NEMA 2000 network that runs from the engine compartment to the dash.

I'd like to keep the cost down and tap into the engines on-board Smart Craft harness to get some reliable basics like RPM/hours/oil pres/engine temps (and error codes too, if it doesn't add too much cost). The "Vessel View" seems to have it all but is outside my rational budget for a 10y/o boat.

  1. Is there a Merc monitor/gauge system that will give me the basics for a $200-300 IE: Merc SC1000 kit for under <$180 on ebay daily? If so, can I tie it to my NEMA 2000 harness or do I need a separate harness and some sort of adapter?
  2. Can I simply tie in/adapt my existing Garmin chartplotter with some sort of "SC engine harness to NEMA system adapter"??
  3. If #1 and #2 are NO, do you have an opinion on which SC system might best fill my request or have you seen a bargain on something better that you can PM me with?

Is there any other wisdom on utilizing the built in engine monitoring senders/monitors/eqt that goes unused? My analog gauges are working but not knowing my engine hours is bugging me. Thanks for your input Mike.
Post edited by TikiHut2 on
2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl

Comments

  • markbellinomarkbellino Oakville, OntarioPosts: 770Member ✭✭✭
    OK I've just done this. The answer is 'it depends' On what you have to replace.

    However it is not difficult or costly. The basic you will need. You will need a SC1000 system gauge Andy hen link gauges for others.

    Mark Bellino

    Boat Name: King Kong

    "Its all a-bout a-boat."

  • RWBLACK6RWBLACK6 ST. IGNACE MIPosts: 24Member
    TikiHut2;  Please post details on what you end up doing with smartcraft. I would like to follow suit.Thanks   
  • JoeStangJoeStang Metro DetroitPosts: 444Member ✭✭✭
    Although its definitely not $200, it sounds like the MercMonitor is what you're after. Idont believe you have to attach it via the NMEA 2000, as it pretty much plugs into the computer in the engine bay. You can plug a NMEA 2K input into it, and it'll give you real time MPG, but that is optional.

    If you have a "smartcraft engine" its pretty much plug & play.

    I wouldnt spend the extra money for vesselview, as it pretty much gives the same information but in a bigger display.
    2013 276 Cuddy ~ 350 MAG / B3
  • Dream_InnDream_Inn Annapolis, MDPosts: 1,085Member, Moderator ✭✭✭✭

    well, I just responded to you message, but this is what I said (similar to others):

    With the SC1000, you will be very limited on diagnostics.  It will not give you anything in text as to what an alarm is.  It will give you the basics you mention and fuel burn.  Mercmonitor is still small and will give you all including diagnostics.  I have vessel view and really enjoy it.  If you have the space, you can find them used once in a while on ebay.

    As far as cabling, you will need to run one from the engine to the helm, that's it.  Your two main tasks would be the cable run and placement of the gauge (& some connectivity, but it's basic).  You'd have to double check on terminations needed as well, if any are needed.

    On my 310 I used Navstar Explorer and was very happy since I had a smaller space.  It had both GPS and smartcraft.  They are no longer available new.

    Dream 'Inn III -- 2008 400 Express

  • PartsManPartsMan Posts: 130Member ✭✭✭

    I had the same idea beginning of this year. You'll need WAY more than a $180 gage. I called Mercruiser and talked to them directly. Give them a call with your engine number and they'll be able to tell you which gages are compatible with your motor. If you could get smart craft for $180 they'd be on every boat! For me, I just don't put enough "running" hours on the boat justify spending the money.

  • TikiHut2TikiHut2 Sarasota, FlPosts: 1,289Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2013
    Thanks for the input and I'll try to call Merc directly. PM, do you have a good contact number? I'd like to have some reliable engine info but like Partsman I struggle with justifying the need-vs-cost for a system that is genuinely useful. I already have reliable fuel data and running speed through my Garmin CP(Chartplotter). It's the Faria analog gauges that I always second guess for engine data.

    From what I read the (Smartcraft)SC1000 is a simple device that won't display any real codes aside from something similar to an idiot light on a car dashboard and a beep code. And I still haven't confirmed if it's even compatable with my '04 5.7 MPI. Maybe I'm reading the SC manual wrong so here's the (SC1000 MANUAL LINK) It might be a decent low budget device if I use it in tandem with my Garmin CP data or even better if it can be tied together with my NEMA cable.

    Called Garmin yesterday to see if there's a direct link/adapter to tie my CP to the engine via the NEMA cabling but they said the attachment would be to cable the CP to the Merc SC system of choice via the NEMA cable and SC would interpret the signal and forward it to the CP engine data page. So I still need a Merc SC piece as an interface.

    Really appreciate the insight given. I'd love to help figure out a reliable workaround that didn't break into everyone's rum budget. On the other hand I don't want to waste a bunch of time if someone else has already beaten this dead horse but hasn't posted their results. I'll follow up with what I find but other input from those with experience is helpful.

    Thanks again, Mike
    Post edited by TikiHut2 on
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
  • PartsManPartsMan Posts: 130Member ✭✭✭
    I called many vendors and nobody seemed to have a grasp on smart craft. I went to the Mercruiser web sit to get the phone number and they where very helpful (have your engine number ready). MercMonitor seems to be the way to go, but $1000 buys a lot of gas.
  • TikiHut2TikiHut2 Sarasota, FlPosts: 1,289Member ✭✭✭✭
    Took Partsmans advice and called the Merc guys 920-929-5040. They spent 30mins looking through their variety of options and came up with a budget system that prices out around $500-600 for new parts with my labor that'll upgrade you to all digital gauges, showing most error codes (numbers only) and really reliable performance.

    Basically
    1. replace the stock analog Faria tach and multi gauge with a new primary SC1000 digital tach/w multifunction display (part# 889222k22) (LINK) . ($300 on Fleabay)
    2. New SC harness from the engine SC connector to an optional J box connector at the dash or even straight to the primary SC1000.
    3. Then chain connect from the 1st SC gauge(or opt J box) to to a new multifunction digital temp/oil/fuel/volt gauge (part#879946k11) ($185 Fleabay).
    4. A dealer will be needed to do a software update changing the ECM analog gauge output signal from the engine computer to a digital signal which will deactivate your old analog Faria gauges and any other analog engine gauges unless....
    5. you add an optional AGI card ($145) at the J box ($40) to convert the signal back to analog (which will require you to patch your old gauges into the AGI card leads) which I wouldn't bother with.
    If you add the J box/connector you could add a NEMA adapter and tie the SC data to a GPS through a NEMA cable for redundancy.

    Like Partsman, I came to the decision that I'll just K.I.S.S. and buy fuel (for boat and personal lubricity) and "love the one I'm with". I love the electronic toys especially to keep my motor happy but my "floatin' " budget is used up with a new Gimbel bearing and VHF radio this month.

    The SmartCraft terms/options and part variations were killin' me so I hope the details are a help those who might be on this path. In the end it'd be a really nice upgrade from the Faria gauges if you have some spare change. Mike
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
  • markbellinomarkbellino Oakville, OntarioPosts: 770Member ✭✭✭
    Tiki aren't your tach and multi gauges separate?

    I replaced my Tach with the SC1000 smartcraft tach system gauge. Cost just over $500 including harness and labor.

    Now I am replacing my 5" faria multi garage with a 5" multifunction SC100 smartcraft link garage. Also around $550 installed.

    I think you get more than just beeps from the SC1000. If there's a problem it displays codes or words as far as I understand.

    Anyhow search online for "smartcraft gauge brochure" or "catalog" . Was a pain to find, but this 5 page catalog has all the model numbers you will need.

    Mark.

    Mark Bellino

    Boat Name: King Kong

    "Its all a-bout a-boat."

  • TikiHut2TikiHut2 Sarasota, FlPosts: 1,289Member ✭✭✭✭
    Thanks Mark. The sc1000 I referred to earlier in the post is a very early ver. In my wrap up I referred to the newest gauge with a link and thats the one you also have. The matching seperate multi gauge is a secondary gauge that can be easily chained to the primary gauge.

    Its all pretty much plug n play once you have the right parts aside from the software update. The price you mentioned is right on with labor. $600 for a diy is about what comes to for me. We both came to the same decision but I was struggling with getting the right parts so I went to the extra effort to try and list them for the next guy.

    Thanks for your insight. Mike
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
  • markbellinomarkbellino Oakville, OntarioPosts: 770Member ✭✭✭
    Yup that's exactly how we are doing it. The SC100 multi function gauge will plug directly into the back of the SC1000 system gauge. My engine is the latest smartcraft compatible version, so aside from an extension harness to plug into the engine and I believe another harness to connect the fuel level sender, we didn't need much more and the install was easy.

    Mark Bellino

    Boat Name: King Kong

    "Its all a-bout a-boat."

  • craigswardmtbcraigswardmtb Posts: 169Member ✭✭
    I went down this route earlier this year. My tachs barely work at all and they drive me nuts. I got quotes for two mercmonitors, stage 1 and 2, cables, fuel tap etc and it came in around $1400ish in parts. The best deal on vessel view that I could find was around 2k, and I really have no room on my dash for this. Both options were a bit rich for me this eason. So then I looked back to analog and The Floscan Twinscan gauges. It gives me what I'm looking for less the engine codes, which are also important to me. So moral of the story is I did nothing and bought a handle of rum. I'll think about it more in the spring. Good luck.
  • JoeStangJoeStang Metro DetroitPosts: 444Member ✭✭✭
    Agreed, the Floscan stuff seems high quality (if a bit dated looking), but the lack of engine codes is a bummer. I do like that they read actual fuel flow, not just what the computer says is being used.
    2013 276 Cuddy ~ 350 MAG / B3
  • TikiHut2TikiHut2 Sarasota, FlPosts: 1,289Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2013
    Right after buying our boat my main concern was the lack of real time accurate fuel flow since my Faria gauges for the engine systems info were working. The whole enchilada of Merc Vessel View etc..was out of the question then I realized that my Garmin chartplotter had an optional sender for $100 that reads flow from the tank in real time and displays/calculates it at the helm on the CP. It was an easy fix for a single engine boat but would need to be set up at the fuel inlet on each engine for a twin at twice the cost.

    I'd like the codes (if I ever had a fault) and an accurate replacement to my Faria analog gauges but the cheap fix for my 1st priority was solved with that optional piece to my Garmin...at least until my ship comes in (pun intended). :D  Mike
    Post edited by TikiHut2 on
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
  • Michael TMichael T Posts: 1,639Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited October 2013
    Hey Mike (Tiki) It looks like you have the issue well sorted out. The NMEA 0183 system is still pretty darn good. For example the new Raymarine touch screen/joystick hybrid GPS units - the new  "E" series still will run nicely on 0183 system codes. The NMEA 2000 with its super speed, big baud and enhanced code capability comes into need when one wants to add multi unit links and the new super speed units like the Garmin glonass series that update data 10 times per second. That's when the 2000 comes into play. To do that you'd need a Mercury energized backbone ( I bought one last Spring for about $500.00) with terminal ports for other NMEA compatible units (like the Garmin) cables to connect the other links like - FLIR, cameras, high speed gps units etc to the Merc backbone and terminating transistors to bridge open ports. My 2 cents -. unless someone has a pile of cash to burn, keep it simple and stick with NMEA 0183 harness equipment and wait for a boat upgrade for the NMEA 2000 stuff. What you have done, Mike, is - in my opinion - the smart way to go. MT
    Post edited by Michael T on
  • TikiHut2TikiHut2 Sarasota, FlPosts: 1,289Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 10
    Well here's an update of my eventual low budget solution for those who are in search of an accurate digital alternative to the stock Faria gauges utilizing the otherwise untapped Mercruiser engine computer sensors. It frustrated me to no end that accurate computerized data was just waiting to be used and $700-$1700 to get at it just wasn't the right answer for me.

    I found a new-in-box 2004 version of the Merc Smartcraft 1000 gauge which will accurately display engine hrs/temp/alt/fuel gph/fuel used/seawater pump pres/drive trim/etc... pulled directly/accurately from the engine computer. Found it on Ebay for $150 shipped. Pulled the trigger only after calling Merc to confirm it would be 100% compatible with my engine (be ready with your engine ser#) and to see what other parts I'd need. All that was needed was a 30' connecting cable called a "CAN cable w/resistors" which I found on-line at a marine surplus store new-in-the-bag 20mi from my house for $55. I have part numbers if anyone needs them but your application may be slightly different.

    Plug and play is an understatement. Route the cable 20mins, mount the gauge 20mins, plug in connectors 90sec, start engine..... success.

    No fault codes in this unit but all the stock analog gauges create some welcome redundancy (while still rather inconsistent) and the new digital gauge is small enough to easily fit in the dash display. Tenacity was the answer to my KISS solution without cutting into my rum budget.

    As it turns out I didn't need to waste $200 on a Garmin fuel sender and NEMA2000 backbone as this gauge is displaying my realtime GPH and fuel usage in a way that's just as accurate and even less difficult to access.

    Good luck to those still in the hunt. I couldn't be happier with the knowledge that I can finally trust these readouts. Mike

    image

    image
    Post edited by TikiHut2 on
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
  • LaReaLaRea Alexandria VirginiaPosts: 279Member ✭✭✭
    Does anybody know why Merc's SmartCraft group decided to ignore/suppress the retrofit market?  It's bizarre - no information, no distributors, few interface products.  How hard could it be to set up a retail agreement with West Marine? 
  • TikiHut2TikiHut2 Sarasota, FlPosts: 1,289Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 10
    LR, I hear you. The retro fit market eqt is readily available on Ebay and through the internet where I found the parts for this one. Prices may vary but internet pricing is crippling anybody who would have to stock all the parts and pieces to match each variable in such a narrow market niche.

    This effort certainly took some sleuthing to confirm it'd work in my case. I hope the process posted here saves somebody else a hassle and some cash. It was almost more of a struggle just sifting through the hype to decide what I really wanted/would use for solid information.

    Accurate engine hours was my biggest unknown. As it turned out my 10y/o 5.7Merc only has 304hrs actual running time. I'm a happy guy just confirming that alone.
    Good luck in your search.
    Post edited by TikiHut2 on
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
  • JoeStangJoeStang Metro DetroitPosts: 444Member ✭✭✭

    Tiki,

    Correct me if I'm wrong,the SC1000  DOES NOT display MPG (due to not having a NMEA input)? Did you say it DOESNT display fault codes? I thought it did........

    So its probably great for knowking accurate fuel level and various engine sensors, but not ideal for optimizing fuel usage on the fly.

    Glad to hear you're happy with it. I struggle with the $$$ commitment to the MercMonitor, but it does do some nice additional things.

    2013 276 Cuddy ~ 350 MAG / B3
  • TikiHut2TikiHut2 Sarasota, FlPosts: 1,289Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 10
    JT, yes the 2004 version that I installed has real-time GPH data with one button. It matches my Garmin fuel line sender data almost exactly....actually it reads it faster than the Garmin which has about a 3-5sec delay. Interesting. My faria dash temp gauge was running about 10* hotter than the computer says.....hmmm which one do I trust. :D

    Another nice feature is the water pressure measured in the engine which may forewarn of a blockage or imminent impeller failure.

    No fault codes are displayed in this 2004 ver unit. Actually the only thing that will display a true engine fault code is a Rinda code reader at about $800. A Mercruiser tech at Mercury said that the codes displayed in the VV units are abbreviated codes for minor diagnostics. So, if it's really broke the guy with the Rinda unit is going to be the one with the data that's most usable. I decided I was most in need of TRUE engine running data and I'd let the Merc guy earn his money if/when the motor breaks.

    AS THE ORIG TITLE SAYS, THERE ARE NUMEROUS VERSIONS WITHIN VERSIONS OF MERC DIGITAL GAUGES THAT WILL WORK ON MANY DIFFERENT ENGINES. DOUBLE CHECK WHAT WILL WORK ON YOUR MOTOR BY CALLING MERCUISER DIRECT. EVENTUALLY I CHOSE SIMPLE AND ACCURATE. PROBLEM SOLVED.

    Hope that helps. Mike

    I have the manual and can simply email it as an attachment or just fwd you the part numbers/data/info he sent me just PM me with an email address. The guy knew this system inside and out. He hit it right on the money and I wish I'd have talked to him 6mths ago. Cheers.
    Post edited by TikiHut2 on
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
  • markbellinomarkbellino Oakville, OntarioPosts: 770Member ✭✭✭

    JT as Tiki states the SC1000 System TACH does display GPH, not MPG, as it does not have a speedometer built in but rather a tach.  However, the SC1000 System SPEEDO apparently does calculate the MPG directly, as it has both the GPH and MPH indication built in.

    In any case if you have the system tach, you can easily calculate MPG using the GPH indication on the SC1000 and your speed indication from your separate speedo (MPH/GPH = MPG).

     

     

     

    Mark Bellino

    Boat Name: King Kong

    "Its all a-bout a-boat."

  • Dream_InnDream_Inn Annapolis, MDPosts: 1,085Member, Moderator ✭✭✭✭
    Tiki, glad you found something that works for you. & thanks for posting that it works so others can have that option for them as well. I'm not so sure about the VV, any issues I've had appeared in pure English telling me exactly the problem. I've also been able to compare the VV problems with the full Rinda code (a dock neighbor friend has one that I've used a few times as a pure comparison). Does the SC1000 work for dual engines, or would two displays be needed?

    Dream 'Inn III -- 2008 400 Express

  • TikiHut2TikiHut2 Sarasota, FlPosts: 1,289Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited February 11
    The set up seems to indicate that it will work with twins but two displays might be right. I have no idea how to attach the manual as a file that Merc sent me (rather than sending me a link) but it has it all in there and is far easier than me trying to articulate all the details.

    On the other hand if my experience in this adventure is worth anything I'd call the tech named below at Merc and give him the detail of the gauge (specific part#) you have and the engines ser#(s). Merc support is 920-929-5040 8-4 cst

    I'm satisfied that I have everything this boat will need. Looking back, the solution started to gel when the right CSR answered the phone at Merc. Arnie Yundt at Merc support knows these gauge packages inside/out (far better than 3 or 4 others I'd previously talked to) and quickly determined the right parts that fit the need.

    Quite a journey to free myself from the Faria gauge issue. It's about time to put some hrs on this sea sled. Mike
    Post edited by TikiHut2 on
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
  • BoatAwayBoatAway DCPosts: 176Member ✭✭✭

    this is tempting, mike... however i'm on the fence of upgrading to another float....

    time for you to update your signiture to 304 hrs... just getting warmed up!

  • TikiHut2TikiHut2 Sarasota, FlPosts: 1,289Member ✭✭✭✭
    Hey BA. Thanks for the reminder on the hours. She's getting older....

    I hear you on that upgrade. Life is short. Get the boat that fits your family needs at the time. The lights always on if you end up in sw fl. I owe you a ride. Cya.
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
  • TikiHut2TikiHut2 Sarasota, FlPosts: 1,289Member ✭✭✭✭

    As an update after using this newer gauge vs my Faria gauges......shocking news....... the Faria temp was 14* too high. the voltage was off by about .5v and the Garmin fuel calculator I tied to my gps/cp was off by 2gph too high. My gph use based on the smartcraft gauge is right at 13gph at 3900rpm / 28mph for a little over 2mpg. In my wildest dreams I never imagined that 2.1 mpg would be an impressive figure.  :D

    The water pressure is running at 8psi at cruising speed. An interesting readout that I hadn't had access to in the past.

    I haven't set up the trim or fuel use yet but for about $200 and such a simple install this was a great answer to my Faria gauge mistrust.
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
  • Dream_InnDream_Inn Annapolis, MDPosts: 1,085Member, Moderator ✭✭✭✭
    Thanks for an update Tiki! I'd love to see 2.1mpg! OMG, even half that at this point would be great! 8-| Oh well, YOLO!

    Dream 'Inn III -- 2008 400 Express

  • RinkerYanRinkerYan Solomons, MDPosts: 2,301Member ✭✭✭
  • Robyw1Robyw1 Jersey Village TXPosts: 50Member ✭✭
    I. Have done this upgrade to my 04 232 with Merc 5.0 MPI. With much success. The SC1000 gauges give me all of the diagnostics available. The only issue was getting the NMEA 0183 to read speed and time due to my GPS receiver being incompatible. See pics: https://www.facebook.com/roby.warwick/media_set?set=a.225403387487531.72613.100000536146131&type=3
  • TikiHut2TikiHut2 Sarasota, FlPosts: 1,289Member ✭✭✭✭
    Now that's some nice upgrades. Thanks for posting......now I have a dozen NEW things I want for mine.. :D
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
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